Captains crumble in 11th, fall to Dragons 7-3
Sterling falls apart in extras as Lake County drops to 4-8
EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains crumbled to the Dayton Dragons in a 7-3 extra-inning affair Thursday night, as a South Carolina native with Ohio ties tallied 12 strikeouts.
Joe Colon, a former Captain and Carolina Mudcat, joined the team as he received the start against Dayton right-hander Drew Cisco (1-0, 1.38). Cisco is the grandson of Galen Cisco, who pitched in the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox organizations, coached in the major leagues, and was part of the 1957 national champion Ohio State University football team.
It was an even match-up as both pitchers sailed through the first three innings before the Dragons struck first. Shortstop Zach Vincej led off the fourth inning with a ground rule double to left and advanced to third on a groundout. With two out, right fielder Jeff Gelalich drew a walk and stole second for his fourth steal of the year. Designated hitter Junior Arias singled to score Vincej and Gelalich as Captains’ shortstop Erik Gonzalez committed a throwing error to first. That ended the evening for Colon, securing his line at 3.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits, one walk and a pair of strikeouts.
The Captains came right back in their half of the inning as center fielder Logan Vick led off with a home run to right, the first true home run of the season for the team (third baseman Leonardo Castillo’s home run was an inside-the-park feat). Gonzalez followed with a single but was caught stealing before first baseman Nellie Rodriguez laced a two-out single. Cue Castillo, who picked up an RBI as he doubled to center to tie the game.
Michael Peoples, who entered the game in relief of Colon, tossed 4.1 innings of nearly flawless ball. Peoples allowed just one hit during his outing and struck out three until he gave way to Francisco Valera in the ninth.
Meanwhile, Cisco was replaced in the seventh inning, ending his evening at six innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out 12. Cisco was replaced with Wes Mugarian, who went three innings, yielding just one hit and one walk while fanning four.
Neither team could capitalize in the ninth inning as Valera shut down the Dragons’ offense and reliever Alejandro Chacin kept the Captains from scoring.
The game carried into the eleventh inning and Felix Sterling entered the game for the Captains. Sterling, who had pitched well in his first four outings, didn’t withstand the entire inning.
After striking out the first batter, Sterling served up a walk to center fielder Beau Amaral, who scored on a triple by Vincej. Sterling’s command became tarnished as he tossed a wild pitch that allowed Vincej to score. Left fielder Jesse Winker drew a walk, advanced to second on a single by first baseman Seth Meijas-Brean, and moved to third on another wild pitch. Both runners crossed the dish on a single from Gelalich and a fielding error by Jorge Martinez in right field.
Things continued to unravel as Arias reached on a force play and stole second. The move seemed to unsettle Sterling even more as he plunked catcher Joe Hudson, resulting in a call to the bullpen.
Josh Martin took the bump for Lake County and relinquished a single to third baseman Tanner Rahier. One more crossed the dish, which closed the book on Sterling, who served up five runs on three hits and two walks in just two-thirds of an inning.
The Captains couldn’t craft a comeback in their share of the 11th as Chacin retired the side, preserving the Dragons with the 7-2 win.
Cisco throws a curve, running fastball and change-up repertoire, and he said his off-speed arsenal served him well.
"My off-speed pitches were really doing well tonight,” Cisco said. “[I was] keeping the ball down, getting ahead of hitters for the most part, but I let that 0-2 fastball hurt me there, but I was able to rebound and get the win tonight.”
Baseball runs in the Cisco family, as Cisco’s brother, Michael, is a pitcher in the Los Angeles Angels organization. Some of Cisco’s family, including his grandfather, lives in the St. Mary’s, Ohio area, so his grandfather is able to give him advice quite often.
“He does [give me advice] and it’s always good to have him out there,” Cisco said. “As a kid, he’d come down a lot and he still does every year and we always used to take trips to the bullpen and he’d take a look at us, so it was a big help for us.”
The Captains committed four errors during the evening and manager Scooter Tucker accredited the loss to the mistakes and the Dragon’s offense.
“Pitching was good, we got to that point when there’s not much you can say,” Tucker said. “They hit the ball, we didn’t make any plays and that’s the way it goes. Early in the game, the pitching was good.”
Next, the Captains hit the road for Midland, Mich. to take on the Great Lakes Loons for a doubleheader. Mitch Brown (0-1, 15.43) is scheduled to start the first game and Luis Morel (1-0, 3.00) will take the bump for Game 2.
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.